Open seven days a week until midnight.Parking available.No credit cards or personal checks accepted.
The Fireside Beef House has been at the same Berwyn Heights address since it opened 16 years ago.
Ironically, the fireplaces that give the restaurant its name were closed within the first year of operation by order of the fire marshal.
But even without working fireplaces, this is still a cozy spot. It is a good "family" restaurant - the atmosphere is relaxed, but with candlelight and bright red table linens, it is also "special."
The Fireside calls itself a beef house, but actually serves just as many seafood and Italian dishes as beef entrees.
There's also a full page of its menu devoted to variations of "Our Famous Pizzas." These run from $2.10 for small, $2.75 for medium and $4.10 for large with additional charges for toppings.
Another page lists 12 sandwiches such as steak and cheese, parmigiana sandwich or prime rib on a roll. Some are served with French fries and all, with the exception of the deluxe steak sandwich ($3.95) are less than $3.00.
At this restaurant we found the service friendly and the servings enormous. Our entrees were good, but not spectacular.More than anything, we were impressed by the little "extras."
If requested, free "Shirley Temple" cocktails are brought for children. And a crock of delicious cheddar-blend cheese and a large basket of crackers are provided. Small, superb sweet rolls are served with dinner - mixed in among the dinner rolls. These are baked fresh daily and, if you can keep your family from eating them beforehand, they make a wonderful dessert.
A family of four can eat well at this restaurant for less than $20 if they don't insist on ordering beef, which averages around $8.00 an entree.
A bit more reasonable are the seafood entrees, which range from $4.50 for fried oysters ( in season) to $9.95 for stuffed lobster tail imperial. In between, there are salmon steak for $5.25, jumbo shrimp for $6.25 and imperial crab for $6.95.
The Italian entrees are all less than $6.00. Three - eggplant parmigina, chicken cacciatore and spaghetti - are less than $5.00. All entrees are served with potato, rice or noodles.
The Fireside charges an extra $1.00 to split an adult portion between children, but they do offer children's entrees of chopped sirloin, fish, roast beef, fried chicken or spaghetti from $1.95 to $2.50 including salad.
On our recent visit there, our two children, aged 5 and 8, enjoyed their cheese and cracker appetizer and their Shirley Temples while they considered the children's menu. Our son decided on the chicken dinner and our daughter chose spaghetti.
For our entrees, my husband ordered the combination chicken and sparerib dinner from under the heading, "House Specialties," and I ordered veal parmigiana.
Our salad, which are included with all entrees, were fresh and risp and of very generous portions. Our daughter ate every bit of hers, while our son, who made a face when the witress mentioned salad, gratefully accepted and enjoyed a bowl of apple-source instead.
With our dinner, my husband and I enjoyed a half-bottle of chianti wine. We found the wines to be reasonably priced - most were $1 or $2 less than the usual restaurant prices.
My husband's entree, at $4.95, consisted of half a chicken and several small spareribs in a barbecue sauce. The veal in my entree was of good quality and generous quatity, but the sauce was sweeter than I prefer Italian tomato sauce to be. The same was true of the meat sauce on our daughter's spaghetti. Our son's chicken, however, was crisp and flavorful.
The Fireside has one more "extra." In the rest room are paper-thin sheets of soaps called "soap leaves" that melt into soapy bubbles when held under water. This may be of little importance to adults, but of considerable interest to children.
Hands have never been so clean. They were washed before and after dinner with "one for the road" before we left.
Our bill, including wine, came to just under $17.00 plus tip.